Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton has lavished praise on Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah. The Englishman previously believed that his fellow countryman could not replace the Gunners' injured No. 9 Gabriel Jesus.
However, he has now admitted that Nketiah is a suitable striker for the north London side. Sutton wrote in his column for the Daily Mail:
“But on Eddie Nketiah, I got it wrong. I described Gabriel Jesus as ‘irreplaceable’ when he was injured. I thought Arsenal would struggle without him. Admit it, you probably did, too. His high press. His link-up play. His creativity. His leadership, having come from a club in Manchester City that demands nothing less than winning."
“All were key to Arsenal turning into surprise title contenders and suddenly, Mikel Arteta was facing months without those attributes. Yes, I thought they’d struggle. But Nketiah has proved me and plenty of others wrong.”
Sutton also claimed that England manager Gareth Southgate will be closely monitoring Nketiah after his stellar performances in the Premier League.
“England manager Gareth Southgate can only be loving this. For so long, we’ve wondered who can deputise for Harry Kane. Callum Wilson? Dominic Calvert-Lewin? Ivan Toney? Danny Ings? Well, how about the guy who took over from Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers as the record scorer for England’s Under 21s? Nketiah is showing why all is not lost if we lose Kane.”
Jesus picked up a knee injury in Brazil's FIFA World Cup campaign, and Nketiah has proved his worth in his absence.
The English forward bagged a brace in Arsenal's 3-2 win over Manchester United on January 22. He is also currently their top scorer across all competitions with nine goals in 25 appearances.
"Your heart always goes a bit" - Eddie Nketiah speaks on VAR wait before last-minute goal in Arsenal vs Manchester United
During Arsenal's encounter against the Red Devils at the Emirates, Nketiah scored his second goal of the game in the 90th minute. The Gunners had to wait before celebrating as the VAR check was ongoing for a possible offside.
The goal was eventually given and the hosts took home all three points thanks to Nketiah. Following the game, he told Sky Sports:
“I saw (Lisandro) Martinez next to me so I thought I was onside but when you see that purple screen come up, your heart always goes a bit. You could see how much we wanted to win and how bad we wanted it for ourselves and our fans. We kept pushing and thankfully we found the goal.”
The Gunners are having an exceptional campaign in the Premier League this season, sitting first in the table with a five-point lead over Manchester City.
They will next face City in the fourth round of the FA Cup on January 27.